Your Space is a street-based youth work initiative reaching out to vulnerable young people on their own terms, at a time and place which works for them. Funded by The Clothworkers’ Foundation, the programme targets problem areas known for serious violence, gang affiliation, grooming and drug and alcohol abuse. The pandemic has only exacerbated these problems, as youth organisations have had to close their doors. This has left young people with few places to go and made it difficult for them to meet youth workers and access support.
Through Your Space, youth workers have been able to help young people with a range of issues, from food packages and family concerns through to navigating complex rules and guidelines. Detached youth workers on the streets have also been a real boon for the community, building local partnerships to create solutions and support young people.
Lack of digital access
Although we’ve been able to keep some programmes going by moving them online, not all young people have access to the necessary equipment and technology. So we built in ‘tech access grants’ to our programmes, to support these young people and give them the digital tools to complete programmes remotely.
Early in the outbreak, we realised that young people from the most underserved communities were most likely to be left behind, due to lack of access to computers. So we worked with our corporate partners to get some crucial resources:
- Raspberry Pi provided thousands of digital desktop kits to the UK Youth Movement, to enable young people to get online and access support
- Microsoft provided online workshops and six months of free Teams software for the Movement, with training webinars included
- Google distributed approximately 1,000 ‘Be Internet Citizens’ toolkits to the Movement. The toolkits are resource packs for youth workers to use in delivering digital citizenship activities to young people.